Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Sleep Med Rev. 2002 Jun;6(3):157-73.

Systemic hypertension and obstructive sleep apnoea.

Author information

  • 1Oxford Sleep Unit, Oxford Centre for Respiratory Medicine, UK.


This article is a review of the current evidence that links systemic hypertension with obstructive sleep apnoea. Whilst a causal association has been suspected for some time, the day to day variability of both blood pressure and sleep apnoea severity, and clustering of confounding cardiovascular risk factors in sleep apnoea patients has made this association difficult to prove. There is unassailable evidence that obstructive apnoeas raise blood pressure acutely in both animal models and humans, through a combination of autonomic and state dependent arousal with some mechanical influences, and these rises can be controlled by nasal continuous positive airway pressure. Thus, although repetitive apnoeas alter the blood pressure variability and raise sleeping blood pressure in patients with OSA and sophisticated animal models have demonstrated increases in daytime blood pressure after the onset of OSA in the short term, such effects on diurnal BP have yet to be proven in humans. Recent rigorously designed large epidemiological studies have proven an independent association between OSA and systemic hypertension in both general and sleep clinic populations, with closely matched case control series also reporting raised blood pressure in OSA patients. A direct temporal causal association between the onset of obstructive sleep apnoea and raised blood pressure is expected to be confirmed by longitudinal data from the continuing epidemiological population studies. Finally, several studies on the beneficial effects of nasal continuous positive airway pressure in reducing blood pressure in OSA patients have preliminary results in abstract form, with one published in full.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center